Anti-Environmental Reductio ad Hitlerum

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There’s nothing like a little Reductio ad Hiterum to start your day. Because you see, anything the Nazi’s did, no matter what it was, is automatically bad. Why? Because they were Nazis of course! For example, a popular one is to note that Hitler was a vegetarian, hence, vegetarianism is intrinsically flawed and will lead you on a path towards National Socialism (never mind that Hitler’s supposed vegetarianism has been thoroughly debunked). Another popular one is that the Nazi’s were “pagan”, not Christian, ergo all modern forms of Paganism are tainted by the association. The current Catholic pope loves this one, even though it too has been debunked on an ongoing basis (Hitler believed himself to be a Catholic until the day he died). Which brings us to today’s entry, modern environmentalism started with Hitler!

“One overlooked area in which Nazism and modern leftism converge is the worship of nature, the expansion of a gentle and loving appreciation of divinely created beauty into an obsession bordering on religious fanaticism.  Mark Musser, in his new book, Nazi Oaks, Advantage Inspirational, not only explores the historical development of radical environmentalism within the Nazi movement but he explains how this totalitarianism is grounded in a violent rejection of the historical Judeo-Christian worldview, which views nature as a blessing created for man by God.  The Old Testament, as Musser explains, has an historical and a metaphysical prelude to problems which we associate with modern and thoughtful secularism.”

You see, the modern environmental movement didn’t spring from the transcendentalist-inspired American conservation movement (which predated the advent of National Socialism), or even from the growing awareness sparked by Earth Day and some real pollution problems in the 1960s and 70s, it’s all about Nazis! Mark Musser, author of “Nazi Oaks”, breaks it all down in an editorial report for the conservative media watchdog Accuracy in Media.

“…what later became known as the Final Solution was in fact an eco-imperial plan rooted in racist biology with ecological predilections. That this eco-imperial plan would far exceed the evils of the western powers in their drive to colonial expansionism has of course gone on largely unnoticed. However, the Final Solution was specifically contemplated by Hitler to resolve this Jewish “existential” threat. In short, the revenge of Nature against the Jews was to be carried out by the Nazis, who thought themselves to be the Master Race precisely because they deemed themselves the most ‘natural’ or ‘authentic,’ i.e., the most in tune with Nature’s pantheistic ways-all of which was largely defined by Ernst Haeckel’s evolutionary Social Darwinism called Monism.”

Oh, and if you think falling back on Thoreau as the philosophical underpinning of your environmentalism is going to save you from being called a Nazi, think again. Musser’s got that one covered as well.

“…while Henry David Thoreau, perhaps the first environmental hippie of America going back to the 1800’s, was blaming the immigrant Protestants and Puritans for despoiling the New England landscape, German romantics were blaming the invasive Jewish people for the same environmental degradation taking place all around their countryside as the Industrial Revolution, supposedly fueled by Jewish capital and banks, inexorably despoiled the forested landscape and sullied wildlife habitat with dirty cities and international commercial markets.”

You see, if we had given Thoreau political power, he no doubt would be eliminating immigrant Protestants in gas chambers! The only non-Nazi option is to embrace free-market capitalism and Christianity (and meat-eating, one would suspect). It’s all just the latest salvo in the conservative slight-of-hand to make fascism a “liberal” movement, all you have to do is ignore all the anti-liberal/(non-National) socialist/communist rhetoric and actions of the Nazi party, not to mention the fierce culture war they waged against “degenerate” modern art.

I’m not trying to engage in some philosophical jujitsu to say that Republicans/conservatives are really the Nazis here, but I am calling for a cease-fire in the “who’s a Nazi” game. Reductio ad Hitlerum is a logical fallacy for a reason. We could draw parallels all day between the Nazis and various elements of modern-day political movements on the left and the right, but that wouldn’t make the connections accurate or pertinent to what’s actually happening in our world. It just clouds the waters, and leads to more shouting matches. Calling Pagans, or environmentalists, or vegetarians, or Republicans, or Obama, Nazis may feel good at first, but once you’ve equated someone with the modern equivalent of ultimate evil, there’s no where else to go. You are trapped in your fallacy, and the only options are to double-down on your hypothesis, tunneling ever-deeper into conspiracy theory and paranoia, or admit that you were being excessive in your rhetoric and back down. Acknowledging that someone who thinks differently than you, and believes differently than you, isn’t necessarily going to put you in a gas chamber.